The brand was born in the perfume shop À la Reine des Fleurs, founded in 1774. It owes its name to perfumer Louis Toussaint Piver, who in 1813 bought the place where he had started as an apprentice. The brand developed and opened branches abroad as soon as 1817, before becoming a supplier to the Emperor, in 1858.
In 1896, Jacques Roucher, director of the Paris Opera, took over the company. As a visionary, he foresaw that the recent use of chemical synthesis would modernize perfumery and surrounded himself with creative chemists. The result was Trèfle Incarnat (1898), one of the great successes of the Belle Époque era. He developed the brand through the growth of advertizing and increased the number of branches on the global level. At the dawn of the 1920s, the French company, whose motto was “L.T. Piver perfumes the world”, was one of the few companies that generated more than half of its turnover abroad.
The brand lived through the decades following the war, in particular by relying on the success of its famous hair “lotions” derived from its perfumes. In 1967, the company was awarded the French Legion of Honour decoration for its longevity and the quality of its products. However, like many old brands, it never really returned to its glory days. In 1989, L.T. Piver was bought by the Franco-Algerian Amouyal family from the Rhône-Poulenc chemical group.
Solid foundations for an expected renewal
In June 2022, the brand caught Nelly Chenelat’s attention. After 30 years working in the world of perfume at Cartier, Mugler, or YSL, in various positions, she aspired to a personal, creative project. She discovered L.T. Piver and was immediately seduced by its heritage and creativity, and the excellent value for money of its made in France products. The owner, Éric Amouyal, agreed to sell the brand.
To boost the brand’s renewal, Nelly Chenelat has decided to rely on the olfactory richness of fragrances that survived the past few years without any communication support, thus opening up numerous perspectives. L.T. Piver’s flourishing heritage, a source of inspiration and an ideal basis for storytelling, represents another asset, as is its global dimension, since it sells over 2 million units worldwide (in the Caribbean, the United States, the Middle-East, Cambodia, etc.). In addition to all this, the new owner says, L.T. Piver stands out thanks to its quality craftsmanship.
By 1860, the brand had three factories in Paris, Aubervilliers, and Grasse. Still in operation, the last one carries out raw material blending, concentrate maturation, alcohol integration, and maceration. As the L.T. Piver perfume company has always sourced its own ingredients, its internal know-how offers a singular olfactory signature, while guaranteeing the confidentiality of formulas.
“The notion of blending is essential for the brand, because it involves maturation or maceration times that impact the perfume’s olfactory rendering”, explains Joëlle Lerioux, chosen by Nelly Chenelat as her in-house perfumer.
The diversity of the L.T. Piver catalogue is as inspiring as the brand’s craftsmanship. Starting from the beginning of the 20th century, the company developed body and hair soap, scented pastilles, ointments, brillantine, but also hair lotions inspired by its perfumes, Rêve d’Or, Pompeïa and Héliotrope Blanc, which are still available today.
“L.T. Piver’s offering is really generous, it is aimed at a wide range of customers, regardless of their purchasing power”, explains Nelly Chenelat. “It’s a beauty and well-being perfumery,” adds Joëlle Lerioux.
Strengthening and developing a unique heritage
The objective is to assert and perpetuate the masstige positioning of the current range, while developing new, more “niche” fragrances. Héliotrope Blanc, Cuir de Russie or Rêve d’Or, inexpensive references popular with perfume lovers, will therefore remain more or less at the same price.
The new products, however, will have a premium positioning, and new extracts or fragrances will be designed. It is a creative work in its own right, drawing on the brand’s heritage, for which Joëlle Lerioux endeavours to paraphrase the olfactory signature, not to betray its DNA, while preserving its quality. This continuity is based in particular on the brand’s craftsmanship, which was passed on, and on its autonomy.
The heritage of this historic house will also help develop a range of skincare products inspired from the old products, with formulas updated to the latest standards and tastes.
Through L.T. Piver, Nelly Chenelat and Joëlle Lerioux hope to promote a quality, popular perfumery. An “old-fashioned perfumery which involves taking the time to make something beautiful”. The ongoing projects are expected to come to market next year. They might be previewed at the TFWA 2023, in Cannes.